YOUNG ANTIGUAN SAILORS CALL FOR MORE LOCAL PARTICIPATION
24 Apr, 2011
Two young Antiguan crew members aboard Hugo B vessel owned by local sailing legend Sir Hugh Bailey - Heather Cooper and Shawn Malone - are calling for young nationals to become more involved in competitive sailing as a co–curricular activity.
“It is a good opportunity for young children to become involved in sailing, it encourages team work and patience, and these elements are great character building attributes,” said Malone, the 21 year veteran of sailing.
Cooper, the lone female crew member is the holder of a private pilot’s license. She has been sailing with Hugo B, for the past 12 years.
The 29 year old who resides in England returns to the Caribbean for Antigua Sailing Week and also all other races affiliated with the Hugo B.
“I want to encourage all locals, especially the females to get involved in sailing. Sailing is great. Five days of racing and great crew. The crew takes great pride that we are the only boat that has all local crew,” Cooper disclosed.
Of the captain, Sir Hugh Bailey, Cooper states that “he is such as an inspiration to sail with… Sir Hugh is really a good captain; during the sail the sailors get a bit hot headed, but we work as a family. They are my family on the water.”
“I started sailing at age 16 or 17. Shawn taught me to dinghy sail and eventually I wanted to go on a yacht.”
She said the opportunity came with Hugo B when, “Sir Hugh gave me a job (one year during Antigua Sailing Week). I managed well and since then it’s history.”
Despite the varying levels of expertise, Malone and Cooper shared one element in common – the passion for sailing.
Malone began sailing at a tender age of 9 years old. He too started in a dinghy. For eight years he has been the sailor on the forefront instructing the crew during the race on the sail type, course of sail and their next maneuvering tactics. Now 30 years old Malone, who aspires to become a skipper on a yacht, expressed that “once the sail is set, the work begins. I enjoy sailing a lot, it is fun. You get to meet all kinds of people and you get an opportunity to share in their culture.”
Captain of Hugo B, Sir Hugh Bailey, has 53 years experience in professional sailing and he too is encouraging that more young locals become involved in sailing. He has thrown out a chellenge to those Antiguans willing to step forward and become the next generation of local sailors.
Sir Hugh is also the owner of another yacht called Hugo. Hugo B is partly sponsored by Falmouth Harbour Marina. The yacht also received support from LIAT the Caribbean Airline, Karib Cable and Catamaran Hotel & Marina.
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